There is no higher honor to be bestowed upon an ECU baseball player than to wear the Keith LeClair No. 23 jersey. It has become tradition for Pirate baseball to announce the award at the annual “Meet the Pirates” event and this year head coach Billy Godwin announced that senior Jay Cannon will wear No. 23 in 2013.
“Records I have, or will someday have, will be broken. Trophies I receive, or will receive, will rust. But no one can take this away from me,” said Cannon.
Godwin described the award as representative of the faith, perseverance and good character displayed by the late LeClair throughout his coaching career and battle with Lou Gherig’s Disease.
“It stands for all that is good in Pirate baseball,” said Godwin.
Cannon, a junior college transfer from Brunswick Community College, appeared in 45 games last season while making 40 starts. He finished the season with a .308 batting average, 23 RBIs, 27 runs scored and two home runs. Cannon nine multi-hit and six multi-RBI games throughout last season.
“This right here, in terms of baseball, is the greatest thing to ever happen to me,” said Cannon. “It’s been hard work but this right here solidifies where I came from and where I am at now.”
The award ceremony capped off an electric “Meet the Pirates” event in Harvey Hall at the Murphy Center. The event was a meet and greet luncheon for fans to come and get to know the 2013 ECU baseball staff.
As Coach Godwin addressed the crowd he mentioned his “one team, one goal” motto that he has used to guide this team. Godwin stressed the importance of five key areas to making one cohesive unit: leadership, work ethic, being mentally tough, being competitors and being the best team of men on the same page.
Excitement was in the air as Godwin continued his speech, stressing the team’s goal of making it to Omaha for the College World Series. To do so, Godwin explained, requires the Pirates to be in the top 2.8 percent of college baseball teams in the country.
As the event continued, the players took to the podium to introduce themselves and interact with the fan base. After the Leclair jersey presentation, the event ended with an autograph session for all the fans in attendance. Immediately following the event, the Pirates held an intra-squad scrimmage in Clark-LeClair Stadium.
In what was a great day to kick off the 2013 baseball season, Coach Godwin was able to sum it up best:
“We have something special here at East Carolina.”